Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Talking about my generation, indeed.

So it turns out that my generation is reacting to what we saw our parents and older siblings do: not save much. 

"Millennials are “the second-most conservative group of investors, right behind their grandparents,” said panelist Sallie Krawcheck, former president of global wealth and investment management for Bank of America Corp. The fact that young workers today likely will be retiring at an older age than their parents and grandparents means “we need a structural rethink” of how to save for that retirement, Ms. Krawcheck said." - (Source: WSJ)

Well, having seen parents' retirement portfolios take a nose dive in 2009, and having seen the effect of being over-leveraged when the music stops, I guess maybe we are learning something.  But I bet it's not Mustachian.  Ms. Krawcheck seems to assume that my generation will be stuck working forever, and whatever "structural rethink" she has in mind is probably not an ERE-style makeover.

My own observations of my peers leads me to conclude that no paradigms have yet shifted in the work-spend-work cycle.  Perhaps this is because the consumer-support systems are still largely run by those in the prior two generations; perhaps it is because my generation is as image-obsessed as ever (and frugality can look weird); perhaps things will buck up.  It is certainly true that more people are talking about less (viz. the small but growing financial-freedom-fighter blogroll), but widespread adoption seems a ways out there.  Nevertheless, baby steps are welcome.

Fellow Millennials, how little do you really need? And how long do you think you have to work to get it? 

I do like the Thoreau quote: "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone."

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